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Following Marcella, An Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727-100 (N8160G & N124FE)

July 29, 1975 just arriving from JFK to Antiqua - then on to St. Maarten. Bliss...back then you could walk almost anywhere around these beautiful aircraft. Photo from David Capodilupo

July 29, 1975 just arriving from JFK to Antiqua - then on to St. Marten. Capodilupo as a child on his first flight on "Marcella". Photo from David Capodilupo

On Thursday I posted a photo of a static display Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727-100 N8160G at the Future of Flight and asked “What’s wrong here?”

Most of you guessed correctly: the logo and font were wrong. You can check out the before and after-photo to see the change. As I was doing research on the fixed logo, I found the story was much more interesting than I expected.

My research led me to David Capodilupo who has been following N8160G almost his whole life.

Capodilupo first flew on N8160G in July of 1975 (that is him and the plane in the first picture). He fell in love with the tri-engined “whisper jet” and started a life-long relationship with the plane. After his flight he would purchase different airline models and make them look exactly like N8160G by painting the “160” on the nose.

He had a hard time following the plane through most of his life since there was not an easy way to do so. About eight years ago he was able to track her down and see she was flying for FedEx as N124FE. FedEx had named her “Marcella.”

Capodilupo in front of N8160G at the Future of Flight. Notice the "160" her original registration.

Capodilupo in front of N8160G at the Future of Flight. Notice the "160" on her nose.

Most Boeing 727-100’s were being retired and scrapped by the early 1980’s, but since Marcella was a 727-100 Quick Change (meaning she could quickly be converted to a cargo carrier), she already had a large cargo door built into her side, allowing her to have a second life with FedEx.

Marcella flew with FedEx from November 1981 until October 2003. In December 2003 she had her last flight from Oakland to Paine Field in Everett, WA where she was to have her front end preserved and displayed in the Future of Flight.

Capodilupo told me it was hard to be sent photos of Marcella being cut up, however he was happy she would find a loving home with the Future of Flight, instead of being sold for scrap.

After Marcella was set up in the Future of Flight, Capodilupo flew out from Boston to visit her. He was very excited to reconnect with the same plane that first flew him as a child in 1975. Once he saw her, his joy turned to disappointment when he noticed the logo and Eastern font were incorrect.

For years Capodilupo has been making his own models (and what airline enthusiast wouldn’t want this 6′ Eastern L1011 model he made in their living room?) and since most model companies didn’t make the Eastern logos properly, he would create his own. Faced with a similar problem, but on a little larger scale, Capodilupo told the Future of Flight “I will fix this.”

He donated his own time and money to put the graphics and logo properly on Marcella and of course the “160” back on the nose. He is not quite done with Marcella. Can you tell a difference between the two pictures still? The one from 1975 has a black tip on the nose and the current one does not. Capodilupo is hoping to help fix that during a future visit to the Seattle area.

Marcella doesn’t only live on at the Future of Flight. Some of her parts are also being used to restore the first Boeing 727 (which is interesting enough for its own blog in the near future). Hopefully pieces of Marcella will be back in the air in the next few years.

Additional information:
* More photos of Capodilupo and Marcella on my Flickr
* Photos of N8160G on Airliners.net
* Photo of Marcella in silver Eastern Air Lines livery
* My blog on the Future of Flight with more pics of Marcella

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17 comments to Following Marcella, An Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727-100 (N8160G & N124FE)

  • [...] Following Marcella, An Eastern Airlines Boeing 727-100 (N8160G … [...]

  • Ed Cerezo

    I remember Marcella well. I knew her first as N8160EA while a mechanic at EAL in Miami.
    I remember doing the passenger to cargo convertion at 11:30 PM to get her ready for freight. At 1:00 AM I would taxi Marcella to air freight ramp to get her loaded up with cargo pallets. Following day she would show up and we would switch her back to passenger configuration. We had several QC’s that we would alternate for freight service.

    • David Capodilupo

      Hello Ed, Thanks for your comments. If you have any photos of N8160G back in those days, let me know. My dream job back in 1975 was to do what you did! The complex at Miami for Eastern must have been massive back then. Cheers…David.

    • Dan North

      Hello,

      Can anyone tell me what logos were in use in the ’50s? There was a silverware set on ebay with the “hockey stick” EAL logo on it. When did that become the logo?

      Thanks,
      Dan

  • john w

    I flew on this a/c when it was in service with EAL and FDX. Enjoyed it every time!

    QC’s has their issues with Eastern and other passenger carriers. One common issue was after a freighter flight, passenger interior would be reinstalled only to find out that a piece of safety equipment such as a life raft was left behind in MIA and the a/c was not legal to carry passengers. It happened more than once on other airlines to.

    The other issue was the additional weight required for the freight door and reinforced floor made the QC’s heavier than other -25’s. Something had to give, payload or range.

    IMHO, 727’s were one of the best looking airplanes Boeing built.

  • Hey John!

    Oh I love the B727 and especially Marcella, since I know her history so well and see her all the time. The QC’s might have been a pain, but they have kept the B727 flying for cargo for a long time. Do you have any photos of Marcella?

    David
    AirlineReporter.com

  • Doug Ames

    Hey Dave, I was also an Overhaul Mechanic for EAL in MIA in the early 80’s. I remember doing Heavy D checks on these QC’s. We retired all of our “Shorty” 727’s by `84.
    The Black nose on the radome is for protection from rain erosion and is an applique of radar transparent rubber. The ribs on the radome are for static bonding that discharge thru the fuse. to the static wicks on the trailing edges. If your curious about any details E-mail me. I have 19 yrs experience with this Jet. Boeing’s best model. Regards, Doug

    • Thanks Doug for your additions. I think most airline enthusiasts love the Boeing 727, it is a gorgeous aircraft and it is so awesome that many are still flying today!

      David

    • David Capodilupo

      Hi Doug – thanks for the message on the radome. Just some questions I’ve always wanted to know: Was the EA logo and Whisperjet titles painted on, or, where they 3M type stickers?
      I have many fond memories of flying on the 727-100s as a kid – it made an impression, and, I’ve made hundreds of models – always of the Eastern hockey stick – white top: CLASSIC!

  • Bill Hirsch

    Dave, Just thought I would let you know that several years ago when 160 was put on display a former EAL Captain had contacted mewith photo’s about these serious design mistakes. I contacted the Museum Director and told her about the errors and she said that she would look into it but after several phone cals to her she claimed that there was nothing wrong and that there was nothing she could do. Right after that time one of the Eastern Air Lines Attorneys was at the Museum and also noticed the errors and we again we both contacted the Director of the museum and were told that nothing could be done. We both informed them that it was rather embarrassing for both Boeing and Eastern Air Lines that they would have made such a big mistake. It seemed that no one wanted to be resposible for these seriouis error’s. Please keep me informed as to your progress so that I may pass the info onto the EAL attorney.
    Bill Hirsch
    Eastern Air Lines
    Director: Eastern Airlines Historical Foundation
    Controller: Eastern Airlines Aircraft Records & Files

  • Doug Ames

    The two stripe colors on the livery are Caribbean Blue and Ionosphere Blue. Not sure about the original logos from the mid 60’s when the changed liverys but in the early 80’s the “Falcon” icon and “EASTERN” along with “Whisperjet” and N#’s were 3M perforated stickers. We (EAL) experimented with tape stripes (thin stripe versions below the windows) but they didn’t hold up to the temp. changes and airspeed. I currently work for A’A and we got rid of our last 727’s in 1999. Do you know where the “Champagne Lounge” is located on a `27? How about the “D. B. Cooper switch”? One more pc. of trivia- EAL is ALWAYS spelled- “Eastern Air Lines” (two words).

  • [...] Clay Lacey’s old Boeing 727-200 (the cockpit is on display at the Future of Flight) and from Marcella, the Eastern Air Lines turned FedEx Boeing 727-200, whose front end is housed at the Future of [...]

  • [...] the later-evening Eastern Air Lines 727s arrived, our crew would rush to do the offload.  Then we’d head to the cabin and grab a [...]

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